Tuesday, 20 January 2015

DAY 40 - A Grimm Time In Portland While Playing Bridge

Hi y'all, and greetings from Portland, Oregon.

Today we headed south from Seattle, Washington a distance of 180 miles (290 km) following the Interstate 5 highway. The drive was similar to just about every other drive we have done over here in the US with four or six lane highways the whole way. The weather was much better than that which we had experienced in Seattle, but we did manage to catch a few showers along the way. In terms of scenery, the drive is quite pretty with beautiful green trees lining the highway, and further down the highway, the road follows the picturesque Columbia River for a few miles. If we had a few hours to spare, we could have detoured eastwards to look for viewing opportunities for Mount St. Helens, which had a spectacular eruption in 2008 in what was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic eruption in US history. Unfortunately, we didn't have time, plus the low cloud-base would have made any attempt to view the Mountain fruitless.

We did manage to stop along the way at Centralia, Washington for some Outlet Retail Therapy along the way and picked up some excellent bargains. After continuing our journey, we crossed the state border between Washington and Oregon about 5-6 miles from our destination.

Instead of heading to our Hotel, we headed into the city of Portland to check out Powell's Books' headquarters which is known as Powell's City of Books. This store is reputed to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the World with 1.6 acres (6400 square metres) of floor space spread over adjoining city blocks each with multiple levels. It contains around four million new and used books, so there's bound to be something for everyone.

Once we had satisfied our bibliophilic needs, we had dinner at a great little Noodle Restaurant before heading out to Moda Centre (formally known as Rose Garden) to watch another NBA match, the Portland Trailbazers versus the Sacramento Kings. Just Maureen, Schuyler, Kyle and Joshua went to the game as I was all Basketballed-out. The Trailblazers won the match 98 - 94 in what was a close match right to the end. However, what excited the family most was that two of the leading actors from the television series Grimm were attending the match; David Giuntoli (who plays Nick Burkhardt)  and Bitsie Tullock (who plays Juliette Silverton). Grimm is shot in and around Portland.

Nick and Juliette staring in Grimm
Among the celebrities

Wait a sec...is that who I think it is? Wow! What a bunch of celebrities, those Plekkers are

So whilst Maureen and the boys were taking in the Basketball match, I decided to wander the streets of Portland with camera in hand. I was very keen to photograph the Portland Bridges. Portland has 11 bridges that span the Willamette River. My focus was four bridges including; the St Johns Bridge, Broadway Bridge, Steel Bridge and Burnside Bridge. In total I must have walked around ten kilometres crossing some of the bridges multiple times.

Firstly, I photographed the Broadway Bridge. The Broadway Bridge is a rall-type bascule bridge built in 1913 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I know what you are thinking, Rall?...Bascule? A bascule bridge is essentially a draw bridge which opens to allow ships and boats to pass, Rall is the way in which it opens as patented by Theodor Rall.

Next was the St Johns Bridge which is a steel suspension bridge that joins the districts of St Johns to Linnton (an Industrial area). It has two 408-foot (124 m) towers and a 1200-foot (368 m) centre span and carries traffic on two decks. It was built in 1931 and clears the water by 205-feet (62 m).

The Steel Bridge is probably the most spectacular of the four bridges I photographed. It is a through-truss, double deck, vertical-lift bridge and opened in 1912. It got it's name because steel, rather than wrought-iron was used in its construction. It carries vehicles, trams and trains it's two decks, though rail is carried on the lower deck.

The Burnside Bridge is a simple bascule bridge built in 1926 and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. It's deck is made from concrete making it one of the heaviest bascule bridges in the USA.

After visiting the bridges, I walked the streets trying some 'arty' night shots, returning to the car park at Moda Centre to try my hand at some shots of Moda Centre.

The crowd streams out after the game

We finally got to our hotel late at night. It is situated in the north-east of Portland around ten minutes drive from the city.

Well that's about it for this blog, see you tomorrow for the next instalment.